Cheetah announced a major milestone in its growth plan to become the leading distributor of choice for independent restaurants and artisanal suppliers with the conclusion of this triple acquisition transaction.
This is the beginning of an effort to build one of the largest local and specialty, product-driven food distribution companies in the country by identifying the best independent & artisanal food distributors to become a part of Cheetah’s nationwide expansion. These acquisitions further solidify Cheetah’s plan to continue to provide the local community of independent restaurants in any market, the same attention and customer experience of dealing with a smaller family-owned distributor, but with the more robust buying power and capabilities of a tech-enabled, national firm. This week, Palo Alto Foods, Esteson, and Joseph Martin Foods became a part of Cheetah’s vision. Cheetah identified these businesses and their founders as phenomenal enterprises with rich history and values, perfectly aligning with the company’s mission.
Na’ama Moran, CEO, and Co-Founder of Cheetah says, “We couldn’t be more excited to bring these amazing businesses and teams into our family. The foodservice industry, post-pandemic, is an increasingly difficult landscape to navigate, but independent restaurants are still the lifeline of the foodservice industry. We found a path to partner with dedicated family-owned businesses to create a scalable, increasingly efficient business that strengthens the breadth of our product catalog, the capabilities of our now broader team, and enhances the customer experience for the entire Cheetah family of restaurant customers.” She adds, “It’s critical to note that the storied history of these businesses won’t disappear, they become celebrated and part of a combined story of a growing company that recognizes the generations of effort that go into creating companies like these.”
Paul Jensen, CEO of Palo Alto Foods, considered a pioneer in the adoption and celebration of organic products, shares that, “This is such an exciting and important time in the history of our company. This is a business my father owned when we were just selling eggs. Forty-one years ago as children, my brother Eric and I worked side by side with him before eventually taking over the company. I can remember the landscape of Silicon Valley in a very different way. We’ve been fortunate to successfully grow with our customers such as Google, Pixar, and Stanford Hospital, over the years. We are ecstatic about taking the history and lineage of Palo Alto Foods and weaving it into Cheetah’s vision. The technology tools and infrastructure Cheetah has developed will only make our customers happier and I’m looking forward to where we can take this together.”
Jim & Cathy Tsiboukis have a similar story; Cathy’s Father Harold Estes founded Esteson in 1952 and was largely in the egg business, supplying the Bay Area’s best bakeries. Cathy had been working there since she was 12 years old. In 1979, when her father passed away, she and her husband Jim took the reins of the company. She remembers growing up with conversations around the kitchen table talking about the real origins of farm-to-table. These days conversations start around importing the finest olive oil, and Greek wines, and when the latest import shipment would arrive. Her husband Jim’s dedication to the business shows in his work schedule, starting his day at 10pm in the office and finishing at 9am. Jim adds some color to that, “When our customers are going to sleep, Greece is just waking up, and that’s when I need to be at my prime.” The family’s hand-crafted line of Estia products, a line of thoughtfully curated and imported premium Mediterranean products, will become a staple in the Cheetah catalog and will be available to the entire family of customers, especially those in the Mediterranean category. Cathy adds, “This company represents generations of love, care, and dedication. It’s important to know that the relationships that made us successful will continue in our new partnership with Cheetah. They view our customers the same way we do, as the heart of our business.”
Cheetah’s Marketplace and Last-Mile Logistics platforms are focused on local, artisanal, and specialty products, accessible with the ease of an Amazon-like shopping experience. The company’s commitment to pricing transparency is oddly unique in the food distribution industry. Cheetah’s commitment to making sure all customers receive the same fair price, regardless of their size or negotiating skills, has been paramount to the company’s growth. Cheetah’s Marketplace is giving smaller, artisanal vendors a major platform for last-mile distribution, changing the way restaurants have access to unique, local, products. This platform fits perfectly with giving greater access to the customers of Palo Alto Foods, Esteson, and Joseph Martin. Looking forward, Cheetah has committed itself to becoming the sustainability leader in foodservice distribution. Major efforts are underway to create a truly sustainable company that fits with the needs and demands of today’s restaurants and restaurant customers.
While details of each transaction are confidential, they are structured so that all parties are keenly aligned in the company’s success through a substantial equity component. A success for the ever-growing Cheetah, is a success for the families and individuals that made Esteson, Palo Alto Foods, and Joseph Martin evergreen brands in the Bay Area for decades. Nearly 100% of the staff of all three companies will be part of Cheetah moving forward.